AP Automation in Healthcare
Healthcare has always been a rapidly evolving industry. But now it is facing new challenges such as a worldwide pandemic while still dealing with the everyday needs of their normal caseloads. All that while trying to remain fiscally sound at the same time. On one side, healthcare organizations have to contend with the fact that they need to do more with fewer resources. On the other, they cannot let financial challenges dictate how they deliver patient care.
Healthcare providers are looking for automation of back-office functions like accounts payable. They need to contain costs without compromising patient care. Companies outside of healthcare have already made this a reality by combining electronic invoicing, automated data capture, front-end imaging, and workflow. These organizations have radically transformed their AP operations allowing them to operate with a fraction of the staff. And they have done it while processing invoices faster, taking more discounts, and achieving improved supplier relations. There is significant opportunity for healthcare organizations to take advantage of these same incredible advances in AP automation technologies.
The “Business” of Patient Care
Hospitals have the unique challenge of balancing the business aspect of their operation with the humanitarian responsibility of providing the best possible care to their patients. This creates a constant conflict within each healthcare organization and leads to further issues in the creation, application, and adherence to processes.
AP is a back-office function and is not involved in patient care decisions. However, patient care decisions impact the accounts payable department’s ability to run efficiently. Prioritizing patient care sometimes leads to side stepping established processes such as obtaining purchase orders and obtaining proper approvals.
Cost Benefits of Automation
Hospitals that have taken steps towards automating their AP processes have seen positive results. These automated accounts payable operations have helped management identify opportunities to improve process steps. Which in turn makes them more efficient and allows them to reduce costs.
In conclusion, there is a strong business case for AP automation in healthcare organizations. The clearly definable benefits offer a compelling case for consideration, especially given the tangible ROI and the fiscal challenges both small and large hospitals face today.
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